Germany began installing wind turbines in earnest some 20 years ago. Now that their lifetime has been exceeded, many are being ripped down. But there’s a big problem about what to do with the leftover carbon and glass-fibre reinforced blades
A recent report on ZDF German public television explains that currently there’s no plan in place on what to do with the turbine blades, which weigh up to 15 tonnes each.
There’s no way to recycle them to use as raw material for new blades. Currently the old blades are being shredded and the chips mixed in with concrete. “You need too much energy and power to shred them,” says Hans-Dieter Wilcken, the operator of a German recycling company.
Burning them is also not an option.
The problem with chopping them up is that dangerous carbon fibre particles are produced and pose a threat to human health. Used wind turbine blades have been designated hazardous waste and no one knows how to deal with them.
Currently 30,000 wind turbines are in operation across Germany and many will have to be dismantled over the next 20 years. That volume alone means over a million tonnes of hazardous waste (30,000 turbines x 3 blades/turbine x 15 tonnes/blade = 1.35 million tonnes).
By 2100, with wind turbine use expected to rise, millions of tonnes of non-recyclable hazardous waste will be left for future generations to deal with – that’s in Germany alone.
Bloomberg: Massive waste “forever”
In the USA, Casper Wyoming is currently serving as a landfill for used blades, Bloomberg here reports:
‘The wind turbine blade will be there, ultimately, forever,’ said Bob Cappadona, chief operating officer for the North American unit of Paris-based Veolia Environnement SA, which is searching for better ways to deal with the massive waste. ‘Most landfills are considered a dry tomb.’
‘The last thing we want to do is create even more environmental challenges.’
On top of the hazardous wind turbine blade waste, there’s also the problem of the massive steel reinforced turbine foundations, which are simply being swept under a layer of dirt as well. These too will forever have an impact on ground and ground water.
Legacy of waste, breathtaking stupidity
Future generations will wonder how dumb their ancestors must have been to opt for a form of energy that blighted the landscape, destroyed ecosystems over vast areas, killed avian wildlife, was an unreliable and expensive energy source, made nearby residents sick and left millions and millions of tonnes of waste behind.
Never mind ll the solar panel waste that is about to added to that.
“Both papers present cause for concern for all existing lake stakeholders including recreational boating, fishing, tourism, commercial shipping, and wildlife-especially bird and bat seasonal migration,” said SOSVice President Kate Kremer.
“All shoreline communities of the United States and Canada should be concerned and attentive to this reckless push to industrialize these international waters. The stunning panoramic views, ecology and economies of the lakes are at risk.”
The White Paper states that
“if feasible, renewables development in the Great Lakes can play a key role in New York’s path to a diversified clean energy economy.”
NYSERDA proposes development of a feasibility study to consider wind energy development in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario through a “framework that is sensitive to environmental, maritime, economic, and social issues while considering market barriers and costs.”
This feasibility study “would consist of three primary components: stakeholder outreach, analysis and policy options,” and would include interactions “with a wide variety of governmental agencies, industry, non-profit and for-profit organizations, indigenous nations and other community groups and organizations that may be… supportive or adversarial to the development.”
The White Paper admits that in the near term, “Great Lakes wind projects are unlikely to be cost-competitive,” but ends with a comment which should be most concerning to Western New Yorkers:
“…such projects would interconnect in the region of the state with the greatest proportion of renewable energy development relative to native load…”
This is a serious problem, according to New York’s grid operator, because new renewable energy will displace older renewable projects upstate unless transmission upgrades allow the power to be transported downstate. Upstate already has 88% zero emissions electricity generation. These lakes are along way from the energy needs of New York City and Long Island where 70% of their electricity is generated from fossil fuels. “Offshore industrial wind turbines will need to be massive in order to be cost competitive because they are incredibly expensive to install,”
Kremer said. “Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are less than 60 miles wide making proximity to the shoreline closer to shore than ocean-based turbines. Lakes Erie and Ontario are the smallest and already the most stressed of the five Great Lakes from decades of industrial runoff and other uses along their shores.
“Stirring up legacy pollutants that are in the sediment of the lakes is an environmental disaster in the making. The lakes need restoration, not additional stresses.”
The SGEIS is an environmental document focusing on ecological impacts of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and it discusses the merits of wind turbines in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario in order to meet the Act’s goals. This DPS document has a more aggressive goal than the White Paper, stating, “Great Lakes offshore wind is expected to contribute to the 70 by 30 goal in addition to oceanic offshore wind.” DPS expects completion of the Icebreaker Wind project in Lake Erie off Cleveland, Ohio,will “renew interest in off shore wind in the Great Lakes…and therefore warrants additional analysis in this SGEIS.
”The Icebreaker project was recently given a permit that includes the condition that turbines be shutdown at night for half the year due to danger to migrating bird and bats, highlighting the environmental devastation Great Lakes turbines can have.
The SGEIS report states 66 percent of New York’s Lake Erie waters and 17.6 percent of its Lake Ontario waters might be suitable for development. Industrial wind turbines would be sited within 10 miles of the Lake Erie shoreline and within one to two miles of the Lake Ontario shoreline. “The 70 by 30 goal will require a massive amount of land in scenic agricultural upstate towns whose right to zone for these industrial projects has been diminished,”said SOS President Pam Atwater.
“Residents are rising up in revolt against these projects. They are bringing forth lawsuits. So now Albany comes up with the idea to industrialize one of New York’s most attractive and economically important assets by placing industrial wind turbines a few miles offshore in the lakes. We have been fighting an onshore industrial wind project for many years on lake shore land and now the State is planning them in the Great Lakes. This is an all-out assault on Western New York from land, sea and air.”
Significant impacts include area-use conflicts that would result in the displacement of commercial and recreational vessels from fishing grounds, and/or displacement of fish from fishing grounds. Offshore wind energy may limit certain fishing practices, restrict access to fish, or displace fish from traditional fishing areas.
Proximity to the shoreline would create unavoidable visual impacts.There will be habitat impacts and bird and bat collisions. Although the SGEIS does concentrate on environmental issues, there are two significant technical issues pertinent to Great Lakes wind presented in the paper which must be overcome in order to achieve the goal of contributing tothe70 by 30 goal,according to SOS Energy Committee member Steve Royce, who researched both papers.
First, there are limitations in the size of commercial ships which can safely navigate the locks and waterways in and leading to the Great Lakes.Because of this limitation, only turbines less than 4 megawatts could be transported and installed, unless “development of a new or adapted fleet of construction vessels” is achieved. “A limit of four megawatts in turbine size may make development in the Great Lakes economically unfeasible.Larger turbines would be needed to justify any project in the Great Lakes,”said Royce.
Second is the problem of ice in the Great Lakes. While floating foundations are being developed for use with turbines in the oceans, freshwater ice presents a problem to this technology due to lateral forces imparted by ice and freezing of the substructure.
“Whether wind turbines will be installed in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario as part of the 70 by30 goal, one thing is for certain: it will happen unless our state leaders can be made to recognize that the ecology of the lakes,and the beauty for which New York was once known are more important than an intermittent, undependable source of a relatively minute amount of electricity which might be achieved from our lakes,”
“We are calling on Gov. Cuomo to stop the assault on Upstate New York. Scenic rural areas, including Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, are now threatened by massive industrialization due to his renewable energy goals,”said Atwater.
Francis Racine Published on: July 3, 2020 | Last Updated: July 3, 2020
NORTH STORMONT — A group of North Stormont residents said they will continue opposing EDP Renewables’ Nation Wind Rise Farm, which they deem harmful to their community.
The project will see the completion of 29 wind turbines in the northern section of the township. Its timeline has been marred with controversy, opponents to the project slowed down its approval as much as they could, then appealed it to the Environmental Review Tribunal, then asked Ontario Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks Jeff Yurek to kill the approval when they lost their appeal.
Construction came to a grinding halt in December, Yurek’s decision to revoke its Renewable Energy Approval (REA), citing concerns for the safety of local bat populations. EDP Renewables appealed the minister’s decision in April to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, who reinstated the project’s approval in its decision in early May….
An open letter to: Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey, Premier Doug Ford, Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks Jeff Yurek.
In September 2019, residents of North Stormont Township and abutting townships sent Eastern Ontario Health Unit medical officer of health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, as well as the premier, the attorney general, the ministers of health, environment, and energy a notice of non-consent. It was signed by people of all ages— children and adults.
The people do not consent to any “discharge of contaminant,” e.g., environmental respiratory contaminant(s) in any form; vibration, shadow flicker, infrasound/low-frequency vibration or noise.
This week, the residents are again sending a Notice of Non-Consent to the Government of Ontario’s attorney general, premier, and Minister Yurek, again telling you they do not consent to any “discharge of contaminant.”
They do not consent under the Nuremberg Code, to be made a medical experiment for a turbine size, make and model never tested in Ontario, erected in clusters, with many close to homes – just over the legal 550-metre distance – established when turbines were much smaller.
It is known that infrasound can travel 20 kilometres. Residents in the approximate ringed areas are in danger. The people did not consent.
No one in the project or surrounding areas agreed to be exposed to infrasound, low-frequency noise, vibration or shadow flicker; they never agreed to having individual or clustered turbines in close proximity to their homes.
The health impacts are known in other Ontario industrial wind projects.
Did you think wind power is green energy? Not in pristine Norwegian wilderness, it isn’t. Learn more about how wind turbines are tearing apart Norway, its nature, and its culture, and not saving the climate. This video series aims to bring Norway’s wind power controversy to an international audience.
The town of Forest, WI has concerns over the end results of the Highland Wind Farm. Forest has spent more than half-a-million dollars fighting the project at the Public Service Commission. The devastation from the Shirley Wind Farm is a prime example as to why the town is fighting this project. (Video 5:06 in length)
Shot/Edited: Tyler Grimh
Executive Producer: Jodi Lyon-Grams
Producer: Madison Lee
“Michael Moore presents Planet of the Humans, a documentary that dares to say what no one else will this Earth Day — that we are losing the battle to stop climate change on planet earth because we are following leaders who have taken us down the wrong road — selling out the green movement to wealthy interests and corporate America. This film is the wake-up call to the reality we are afraid to face: that in the midst of a human-caused extinction event, the environmental movement’s answer is to push for techno-fixes and band-aids. It’s too little, too late.
Removed from the debate is the only thing that MIGHT save us: getting a grip on our out-of-control human presence and consumption. Why is this not THE issue? Because that would be bad for profits, bad for business. Have we environmentalists fallen for illusions, “green” illusions, that are anything but green, because we’re scared that this is the end—and we’ve pinned all our hopes on biomass, wind turbines, and electric cars?
No amount of batteries are going to save us, warns director Jeff Gibbs (lifelong environmentalist and co-producer of “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “Bowling for Columbine”). This urgent, must-see movie, a full-frontal assault on our sacred cows, is guaranteed to generate anger, debate, and, hopefully, a willingness to see our survival in a new way—before it’s too late……..”
Cleanwater Wind LLC received approval on March 10, 2020 from New York state to place a data buoy in Lake Erie for its proposed offshore project. The wind developer is just one of many who are pushing for regulatory approvals for offshore wind turbines to be placed in our Great Lakes. The Great Lake ecosystem are the location for globally significant flyways, freshwater marine life and home to one of the largest human populations in North America on the adjacent shores.